Category Archives: Photography

Day 185 – The day I forgot

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Day 185 – Sep 18th

Okay, I am human, I completely and utterly forgot to pick up my camera today! Can you blame me after taking around 1000 shots yesterday??

For day 185 we’ll have to make do with a photo that is essentially a day late. The wife doesn’t think it should count and said I should have no photo for that day, like there are some unwritten rules somewhere. I disagree, this is my project and therefore I make the rules, so if a photo a day late is to be included then I am happy with that. This one is a bit of an abstract shot, so as to not represent a significant event on a particular day. I still like it!

One a journal note, I hate rain! Sometimes it sucks not having a car to take to work, traffic drives me mental, but at least you don’t get soaked through to the skin like you do on two wheels!! Grr!

Come on Autumn, don’t you let us down now… summer was an absolute wash out, and we need a bit of sunshine to cheer us up!

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Day 183 – Its the halfway point

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Day 183 – Sep 16th

So this is it, the official half way point of the 365 project. Six months has gone so fast, I’ve produced some lovely photos, and some absolutely duff ones, but it has been fun.

Todays photo was taken in Sandwell Valley Country Park, a venue so close to where we live, yet somewhere that I’ve never been to before. It was a lovely little place, and somewhere we’ll definitely be going to again. We met some friends there in the morning with their two little ones, one of them being Olivia’s best friend at nursery, for a fun few hours. The kids played on the play area for a while, before we took them around the farm to feed the animals, and then finally stopped off for a spot of lunch in the cafe.it wasn’t quite as cheap as you’d hope for a trip to the park, but we enjoyed ourselves.

After we got home I still had time to pop into the city centre for this years Chilli Festival, as I’d sadly missed out on last years due to photographing a wedding on that day. It felt smaller this year than previously, although I’d been assure it as the, and due to the rain it was definitely considerably quieter too. On my own I was pretty much done in half an hour or so, but I had picked up some new chilli sauces. I was tempted to try som of the delicious food on offer, but I’d already had lunch at the park and knew we wouldn’t be eating late tonight. 

Before any films or putting my feet up this evening I had the task of putting all my camera batteries on charge and making sure all my memory cards, cameras and lenses were ready and packed. Early start in the morning. It’s an essential job to make sure I am fully prepared for any eventuality, including a smashed camera or a battery totally failing on me. I still have to get all the shots I need regardless. It can be a stressful day, and there is a lot of pressure, particularly around moments that will only happen just the once and can’t be repeated, and definitely can’t be missed. Once I’m happy everything is ready, I can relax. 

Day 182 – It never rains but it pours

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Day 182 – Sep 15th

Ah Friday, the superhero of the working week! 

I’m looking forward to a bit of a quiet Friday and Saturday as my Sunday is going to be pretty hectic, my first wedding for a while. For one reason or another it has been a bit of a quiet year on the wedding photography front, which is fine as it means more time at home at the weekend with my girls, but Sunday I am back into it, and the wedding weekend starts tonight with the wedding rehearsal. Normally I don’t attend these, but I wanted to make sure I could find the church and check out the parking situation.

The church isn’t too far away, and so I decide to hop on the motorbike, its cheaper to run than the car, and more fun too!

Cue the rain!!

I had to hang around a bit longer with the rehearsal than I wanted to, but it was worth it as I found out I was entitled to a limited spot outside the church, reserved for photographers! This news takes a huge amount of stress out of the wedding day!

So now its time to head home, put my feet up and relax with a film and a drink. On the way home I manage to pull the bike over and grab todays lovely photo… right before it started raining again! I seem to be cursed on two wheels at the moment, every time I climb onto my motorbike or bicycle I get drenched!! Oh well, a few beers and a good comedy film will soon take my mind off that! At least I got home in time to put the girls to bed!

Day 179 – just tell me what you want

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Day 179 – Sep 12th

Buying presents for children seems to be something of a first world proble at times, a dilemma between letting them enjoy Christmas and their birthdays, and not spoiling them with so many toys that they forget what they own. There’s also the consideration of space and where to keep everything with an ever increasing collection of jigsaws, dolls, and musical toys. Our house is fairly compact, which is fine for us, but if we don’t keep things in order it quickly and very easily becomes untidy.

The girls toys can quickly seem to dominate a room once they get them out, it’s hard to keep all the bits together so things don’t get lost, and wit more and more toys appearing it means that some toys don’t even see the light of day for weeks at a time.

With all these toys choose from Chloe still has a new favourite above all others, something we didn’t even buy for her… the car. No, I’m not talking about the red plastic Mini Cooper push along childs car that we bought from Toys R Us that they play with in the garden, I mean the 2.0L turbo diesel one sat on the drive.

Chloe has started trying to say a few words recently and has clearly learnt the word car, and will stand at the front door pointing outside saying “car, car” over and over until either a) we manage to distract her (not easy), or b) give in and take her out, accepting that you’re going to be stuck in that car with her for a good ten minutes, and even then you may not manage to get her out without a bit of a fight on your hands!

Incidentally, on the subject of first words, one of the other words she is beginning to learn is ‘Alexa’ after hearing us talking to our Amazon Echo all the time… how very 21st century! It’s quite amusing watching her stand on the edge of the chair trying to shout up to it! 

What other unusual first words have you heard?

Day 176 – What shall we do today?

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Day 176 – Sep 9th

It’s Saturday and we’d decided it was going to be a fairly quiet weekend, I know it makes the wife happy when we break the busy weekends up with a few where we’re not doing much. 

The one thing with not making any plans in advance though is that if you don’t just want to sit around the house, you still need to be up and dressed at a reasonable time, or by the time you’re dressed and showered it’s almost lunchtime , the girls will be wang something to eat and we have to consider that Chloe will need to nap shortly afterwards. Essentially what this means is that if we’re not up and out of the house by 10am, we may not end up going until 2-3pm. It’s almost feels like a bit of a waste of a day, especially when we have to be back by 5pm to cook dinner, think about a bath and then get them both in bed by 7:30pm. 

Theses small windows do mean that if we are just staying local then at least we don’t really have to take travel times into account, and we don’t have to commit ourselves to being out for more than a couple of hours at a time. They’re good for trips to the park, swimming or even a trip to the shops. On this particular Saturday, as we had literally nothing planned, I suggested we head down to Toys’R’Us to see if Olivia wanted to spend some of her birthday money. Yes, she’d been bought some lovely gifts for her birthday, but none of which she’d actually chosen herself. Its a nice way to spend a little time, letting the girls wonder round being amazed by this Aladdins cave of childrens toys, although at 18 months I knew Chloe was going to struggle with the concept of putting things back on the shelves a little, and we did spend some time trying to wrench things out of her hands and coerce her to let things go.

Finally the shopping trip was successful, and we were heading back out to the car when we spotted the fire engines that were parked up for the charity car wash, with one of the wagons parked up and allowing children to sit inside and have everything explained to them. Olivia naturally was keen to have a look, and after having a look around the back, was allowed in the front to sit in the drivers seat, which she thought was amazing! It was a nice surprise from a random trip to a shop we don’t normally visit. It might not seem like much, but when you’re a child its super exciting, and when you’re a parent trying to entertain a child on a wet Saturday afternoon, you’ll take every opportunity.

Day 175 – No-one said parenting would be easy

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Day 175 – Sept 8th

Friday at last, and it was the end of the first week of term after we’d come back from the summer holidays. After being back at work for a week, this was one day that the wife was really missing me and wishing I was at home, and sadly not because my charismatic personality or the charming wit that she’d clearly married me for… no, its because Chloe was about to get listed on eBay on a 7 day auction! Little miss whingy pants was beginning to do mommy’s head in!

We have created two beautiful, unique and very different girls, and the youngest of those is really showing us how different two girls brought up in the same environment can be, and testing our patience on a seemingly increasing basis with her episodes of moaning, whinging, wanting this, that and the other, and of course her little tantrums. She’s an absolute delight to be around for 90% of the time, but she is clearly not as placid and calm as her big sister.  

As a friend had recently commented on facebook though, you have to admire this fire and passion in her, even as an 18 month old toddler she is developing such a feisty personality, and I love it… as challenging as it can be!

Sure, it drives us a little nuts at times, but we have two awesome little girls, and I love to embrace their differences. I sometimes look at what they’re like now and  wonder what they’ll become when they’re older, what will interest them, what will they be passionate about or skilled in. So far we’ve got Olivia down as an author, and Chloe as the backpacking around the world adventurer! Who knows, the world is changing, possibilities are endless, creativity and imagination can go a long way… I mean if you can earn a living, and a very wealthy living too, by being a “youtuber” or an Instagram star, then who knows what the future holds!? Even blogging is paying the bills for those dedicated enough… if only I could work out a way to get more people reading!

Day 174 – we are made of star dust

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Day 174 – Sept 7th

Its tough getting back into the swing of things after six weeks off work, and a poor track record of going to bed far too late. After feeling a little run down and unwell yesterday I decided to take the motorbike to work today, and it was so much nicer!

Sadly changes at work mean having to stay a little later than usual on a Thursday, so I couldn’t race home to collect Olivia from nursery, I had to leave that to the wife. As soon as I was home, Olivia was keen to get out on her new bicycle and go riding. She’d only had it two days, and I thought we’d end up just going up and down the length of our road, but she’d clearly been practising while she was at home yesterday and looked like she’d got this thing mastered, even using her brakes to slow herself down.

Todays photo was pretty much just an observation of how badly I need a hair cut. It was also a planned, deliberate pose… a close-up shot using the ultra wide angle lens, with a bounce flash illuminating me from above, and then converted to black and white using one of my favourite actions from my Totally Rad actions collection in Photoshop. It came out exactly as I’d imagined, that always makes me happy!

Day 170 – all good things must come to an end

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Day 170 – Sept 3rd

It’s now the last day before going back to work after six wonderful weeks off with my lovely family. In some ways it feels like five minutes since the holiday started, I almost don’t know where the time has gone, but in other ways it does feel like we’ve been off for ages and we’ve actually had quite a busy and productive summer.

At least we had the pleasure of seeing family today, a meal out to celebrate the mother in laws birthday properly. We’d booked a table at our favourite carvery and thoroughly enjoyed the meal, the setting, service and food are all fantastic and never disappoint. Thankfully we’d gone in hungry, as it seems so hard to come away from the servery with anything less than a mountain of food, although somehow I still managed to clear my plate. With lunch done it was back to the in-laws for a cup of tea, and so the girls could stretch their legs a little. It was a lovely way to spend a Sunday afternoon, and of course the girls loved spending time with their grandparents.

There was one more chore for the day before I could relax in the evening, which I fully intended to do before going back to work in the morning! I had to assemble Olivia’s new bicycle ahead of her birthday. We’d picked it up from Halfords, and although they would have put it together for us, for free, I wanted to leave it in the box as it was easier to conceal until closer to her birthday. It was something I’d never done before, and had no idea how long it would take. Someone I spoke to recently suggested it could easily take a couple of hours, but thankfully I managed to get it done in about 45 minutes, which I didn’t think was bad considering that there we no instructions included on how to do it.

With the bike put together and then hidden under a blanket in the garage ready for Tuesday, it was finally time to open my final beers of the holiday, along with snacks and a film… tonight being the rather bizarre, but still amusing ‘Seven Pyschopaths’. Enough to distract me from the sad truth that tonight the alarm clock is going back on and tomorrow I don’t get to spend the day with the girls.

Its easy to feel a bit sad, but I do need to appreciate the time I have had at home with them, and the opportunities we’ve had for days out. It has been a real blessing having the wife at home as well, so we’ve been able to do a lot of things as a family. Opportunities like this don’t come along often.

Winter is coming.

Day 169 – Its my party and I’ll play if I want to

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Day 169 – Sept 2nd

Birthday parties are definitely made easier when you don’t have to do them at home or worry about the weather. Today was Olivia’s 4th birthday party, which we did at Jungle Bugs soft play centre again. She had been very excited about it for a few weeks, and today it was finally here.

Jungle bugs is a good sized play centre, bigger than one we’ve been to for a few parties recently, but not quite as big as others which appeal to slightly bigger kids meaning that the little ones aren’t at risk of being trampled on or knocked over. Hiring it out meant free entry for Olivia’s friends, and they also got to choose their lunch on arrival, which is served up in a private party room as the rest of the play centre is open to the public. As luck would have it on this day, the place was surprisingly almost empty. For the first hour we were there, the majority of kids there were with Olivia’s party, so it almost felt like we had exclusive use of the soft play centre. Due to its location, this soft play centre can get particularly busy, especially during holidays and weekends, more so when its raining, so today definitely felt like a win!

After the kids had arrived and all burnt off a little energy, it was time to sit them down to bring in the cake and sing happy birthday to Olivia before serving lunch. Clare had put a lot of effort into creating a Paw Patrol cake, and used a recipe from a cake baking book I’d bought for her birthday. Her efforts had been rewarded, it was an amazing cake, and consequently all gone in now time. Even the few slices we took home afterwards didn’t last long!

Olivia had a great party and we were very grateful to every one that turned up, wished her a happy birthday a brought a lovely gift with them, and also to those who couldn’t make it due to illness for letting us know.

Day 166 – Oh I do like to be beside the seaside

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Day 166 – Aug 30th

With the six week holiday stretching out before us back in July, there was only one way to make sure we didn’t waste it, and that was to make a list of the things we wanted to do and people we wanted to see. I knew that we’d never tick all of it off, and the poor weather we had at the start of August really didn’t help with any of our outdoor plans, but we didn’t do too badly in the end. There are still a few people I was keen to catch up with, that we’ve simply run out of time to see now, but the one thing I was particularly passionate to tick off the list was a family day at the seaside. A day on the beach doesn’t feel like enough, but its better than not seeing the sea at all! Ideally I’d love to have gone with friends, but in the end, with just a few days of the holiday left, we couldn’t make it happen and were just glad to be going as a family.

We’d been organised enough to prepare lunches the night before, and I’d made a list of things to take so we could pack the car up a bit quicker in the morning. I’d suggested getting out of the house far earlier than the wife had expected, much to her annoyance, so I had to make sure that getting out of the house was fairly uneventful.

The nearest beach to Birmingham is Weston Super Mare, but its not somewhere I particularly enjoy going to, as its always really busy due to its proximity to the Midlands, hence its nickname “Birmingham-on-sea”. Plus, on top of the fact that its always so busy, we never seem to see any sea at all while we’re there, the tide is always out in the middle of the day, and goes so far out that we can’t even see it!

Instead, I had opted to take the family to Barmouth beach, probably the second closest beach to Birmingham. It took longer to get there than Weston, due to the lack of motorways through North Wales, but it was a much nicer drive through countryside and mountains, past quaint country houses and quirky pubs. I arrived at the beach already feeling relaxed!

When we arrived I was especially surprised at how many spaces were left in the car park on such a nice day, as well as how much space there was on the beach. The beach itself is surrounded by mountains, and so wasn’t especially windy, but there was still a nice breeze to cool us down a little. The weather was perfect, slightly warmer than had been forecast, but not too hot though, and beautifully sunny with just a handful of clouds in the blue sky. Its almost as if we’d booked the weather with some kind of online system!

This was Chloe’s first time at the seaside and she loved it, even splashing in the sea, which was a lovely temperature, and warmer than I expected. We’d got our blankets down, enjoyed a little lunch with some music on the side from the ANKER bluetooth speaker I’d taken with us. The girls enjoyed building (and knocking down of course) some sandcastles, with their new buckets and spades.

As we hadn’t expected such lovely sunny weather, both me and Clare had come unprepared for the warm weather and had to roll our jeans up so that we could join the girls splashing about in the sea.

We finished the day with some dinner, a traditional fish and chips, which just has to be done when you’re at the seaside, and the food was amazing. The girls sat and ate well, and did us proud, they were so well behaved. Not surprisingly they were both soon asleep when we set out in the car on the return journey home, so we were able to push through and do it without stopping.

At last, my holiday was complete, our day at the seaside was fantastic and I now felt that I hadn’t been robbed of a decent break because of the miserable Birmingham weather.

Barmouth… we’ll be back soon!

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